Editor’s Note: In this new feature, the Greenhouse Grower varieties team will choose one noteworthy variety each month we think is worth bringing to your attention. Then we’ll share growers’ and breeders’ perspectives on the best ways to produce it successfully at your operation.
Growing Tips From Ivy Acres:
This year, Ivy Acres grew around 5,500 gallon pots of Petunia ‘Night Sky’ in two batches, with 90% sell-through. Vice President of Production Dan Chaney says the growing team chose to use three plants per pot and propagate their own unrooted cuttings. They started the plants inside and moved them to outdoor hoop houses after five to six weeks.
“We had an unusually cold spring this year with nights getting down to 29˚F and frost warnings nearly every night,” Chaney says. “Because of that, the plants didn’t finish quite on time, but they held up well and filled out despite the conditions. The cold helped in that it acted as a growth regulator.”
Chaney recommends the following tips for growing ‘Night Sky’ successfully:
1. Stay away from B-Nine for growth regulation, as it can turn flowers white, although Chaney says it is probably all right to use it in the propagation stage.
2. The cooler you can grow plants in the spring, the better success you will have.
3. High daytime temperatures are one of the reasons the flowers go white. If you are growing in the North, you could run into some issues. Make sure you get plants to market before Mother’s Day if you prefer bluer plants with white highlights.
4. Pinch plants in the liner tray before transplant and give them a week before transplant
5. For propagation, stick the plants as soon as possible after they come in. Once the roots come out, reduce misting.
About Ivy Acres
Brothers Jack and Peter Van de Wetering started Ivy Acres on Long Island, NY, in the early 1960s. In the 1980s, Peter left the business to start Van de Wetering Greenhouses as a plug producer, and Jack took over the finish business at Ivy Acres.
Today, Jack and Alice Van de Wetering own the operation, which is run by President Dave Foltz. Ivy Acres mainly grows annuals and perennials and a few woody ornamentals and potted plants for big box stores, supermarkets, and other retail outlets. It ranks at No. 12 on Greenhouse Grower’s Top 100 Growers List with 3,950,250 square feet of environmentally controlled space and 18 acres of field production.
Production Quick Facts From Selecta
Medium: EC of 0.75 to 0.80 mmhos and a pH of 5.5 to 5.8
Fertilizer: 75 to 100 ppm N when roots become visible, increase to 150 to 200 ppm N as roots develop
Grow to Finish
Medium: Well-drained, disease-free with a pH of 5.5 to 6.0
Temperature: Night from 52°F to 62°F and daytime from 58°F to 75°F; higher temperatures can affect flower color
Lighting: 5,000 to 8,000 f.c. (50,000 to 80,000 Lux); long days not necessary to flower
Fertilizer: Constant feed with balanced fertilizer at 150 to 250 ppm N, additional iron may be needed based on water quality
Plant growth regulators: Drench with Bonzi (1 to 3 ppm); Bonzi as a drench can prevent flowers from turning too white.